When I had a daily radio show, I had to not only pay attention to everything that was going on in the news, but also watch and listen to a lot of pop-culture events, so I could talk about them on the air. That included TV shows, movies, and sporting events that I didn’t really care about, but had to have within my sphere of information in order to do my job. I no longer have that obligation, but I can’t help being suckered into some of those lousy experiences . Despite knowing the phenomenon won’t live up to expectations, I fall for the hype anyway.
The Olympics opening ceremony is a perfect example. It’s all about pageantry and pomp, two things I’ve successfully lived my life without. I know. from quadrennial experience, that the host nation’s staged exhibition won’t make any sense, will involve thousands of people doing things I don’t understand, and be tainted by television announcers who talk too much (Matt Lauer) and know too little (Meredith Vieira). That’s exactly what we got Friday night, and it’s my own damned fault for watching, even on DVR delay.
What amuses me is all the people complaining about NBC’s coverage of the opening ceremony and the athletic events thus far, as if they’ve never seen a network tape-delay the Olympics before. They’re outraged at the fact that, while social media and other outlets report on results as they happen, NBC holds the footage of some events for primetime, just as it has every two years for a couple of decades. The vast majority of Americans don’t actually care who wins any of these games — they couldn’t name five current Olympians if you put a gun to their heads — but they’re filling the Twitterverse with complaints about having to wait until 10pm to see some hairless human/dolphin hybrid touch a wall first, or some 84-pound teenager prounce around the gymnastics floor for a spot on the oh-who-the-hell-cares.
Meanwhile, ratings for NBC’s primetime coverage are huge, just like the length of its commercial breaks, which means one of three things: a) the complainers are vocal, but clearly in the minority; b) the complainers are hypocrites who are actually watching more than casual viewers; or c) it’s the dog days of summer and there’s nothing else on TV.